FIRE Has Reached Our Shores…

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Hey guys! It’s finally here – FIRE has gone mainstream!

How mainstream you say?

Well, business insider covered an article on it (here) which starts off with:

“The Financially Independent, Retire Early (FIRE) movement, strong among millennials in the US, has reached Australia. The goal of an early retirement is becoming popular among young people who don’t like what they see in the future, with healthcare and state-funded pensions crumbling, and aren’t that keen on the idea of a career for life”.


We’re different from other generations in that the old, traditional race of working 40 hours a week for 40 years to retire on a pension of $40k a year just isn’t appealing anymore.

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“Ready…On your marks…Set…Gooh dear…”

We want MORE!

And just like terms such as “rentvesting’ (renting where you want to live whilst, investing where you can afford), “smashed avo” (the art of pummeling an avocado into smithereens), FIRE has entered the general vernacular.

So for the uninitiated, what is FIRE?

As mentioned, it means to be financially independent in order to retire early, normally in your late 30’s, 40’s, mayyyybe 50’s – some even in their 20’s.

The main principle of FIRE is that you are living life on your own terms, sticking it to the man, “doing you” (post on the “doing you” principle here) and above all, gifting precious time back into your life.

Ways to FIRE?

There are mainly two schools of FIRE thought.

Save, save, save

This includes creating and maintaining and extremely strict budget, saving greater than 50% of your take home pay (usually much, much more), cutting down on every possible cost – e.g. personal transportation and eating out.

Some others take it to the extreme – flushing the toilet once a day, not showering for days on end, in fact, take me to the level of a vagabond and bring it up one, maybe two notches thanks.

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“E…explicit content? Samurai swords? W…what kind of fucked up FIRE is this…?”

Income vroooom

The second way is to find ways to accelerating your income at work (read some ways on how to do it here).

It can be volunteering for all the crap no one wants to do, seeking new responsibilities, taking out the dirty plates off your manager, you know, anything you can do to get ahead and increase that earning potential.

Usually both ways incorporate trying to generate multiple streams of revenue aka the side “hustles”.

Running your own part-time business, being an Uber driver, starting your own blog, freelance writing online, becoming a digital assistant, trying your hand at being a hitman, the shark whisperer, vehicle crash test dummy… all viable options – these days, the world truly is your oyster.

Ooo, some other FIRE alternatives include:

Lifestyle arbitrage

This is whereby you continue to earn your domestic currency e.g. USD or AUD, and relocate your entire life to a foreign country with a much lower cost of living, e.g. SE Asia, Central/South America.

If you’ve ever traveled to a country where everything seems cheap – imagine living there long-term? Think of the savings you’ll be able to achieve just by breathing, eating and fuc.. sleeping… FOR THE WIN!

Sometimes you don’t even need to move countries, many are simply moving from a higher cost of living city e.g. New York/San Fran or Sydney/Melbourne to a lower cost one e.g. Philadelphia/Sacramento or Brisbane/Adelaide.

Bear in mind the bigger, better jobs are usually in a bigger city though…

Image result for sex and the city
More Mr Big’s in bigger cities also…

Part-time FIRE

Just like work, where you can rock up for 3 days a week and enjoy the sweet nectar of life for the other 4 – the same can be said for FIRE.

Many aspirants of this choose to work for months sometimes years at most, then take a few months sometimes years off (see the similarity) to yknow, do stuff – travelling, relaxing, spending time with kids, reproducing new kids, whatever tickles their fancy.

I actually first heard about part-time FIRE during the GFC, when the company I worked for hired a bunch of contractors to help out the back office. My manager told me that some people ONLY contract for a living, 6 mth, 12mth, 24 mths at a time – blew my mind at the time.

The Frugal Samurai FIRE

This is a version of FIRE in which, if you talk and write about FIRE enough, enough people will read your blog in order for you to FIRE.


Whichever FIRE path is embarked it all comes back to the simplest of financial equations:

Earn more than you save and invest the difference.

Everything comes back to that point, so it makes sense to either increase your revenue whilst at the same time decreasing your costs.

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Increasing revenue and decreasing costs – you’re doing it wrong.

Do that (the earning and saving bit, not burning cash like Heath), and you will go a long way in any financial endeavour.

How to FIRE?

We’ve talked about operating multiple side hustles with multiple streams of income pouring in.

But if you’re like me, more of a traditionalist, a couple of the easier ways is to just invest in high dividend yielding shares (either through active or index investing) or in real estate for rental income.

Give them both some time to stew and viola! Moonay moonay!


This is when you identify the higher dividend payers in the market, invest and collect your dividend cheques as they come through.

In Australia, we have a system called franking in which the company pays the dividend tax on your behalf and pass on what’s known as a franking credit to the shareholders.

These franking credits can be used to reduce the income tax paid, or used as a tax refund. Many retirees and income-seekers use this strategy for their cash-flow purposes.

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Historically the larger, blue-chip companies have consistently paid good dividends (the Big 4 banks and Telstra especially), which with the generous franking credits sometimes see yields as high as 7-8%.

Mind you shares are looking a bit shaky at the moment aren’t they?

Real Estate

If you’ve ever played monopoly you will understand that if you can chuck in a tenant on a building sitting on a piece of land, you’re entitled to a juicy rental income each time they reside there.

The most basic premise of investing in real estate is to participate in the capital and rental growth from the property through time, whilst reducing debt and paying off your loans.

There are numerous locations in Australia (and around the world) where you can receive high rental income from day 1, thereby helping to payoff your debt earlier, and building that cash flow sooner.


Personally it’s exciting to see that the FIRE movement is gathering momentum, there’s something really appealing sticking it to the man and living life on our own terms right!

As for me, I have my own path I picked out (read here).

FIRE isn’t for everyone of course – it’s just a means to an end, there is absolute nothing wrong if you’re happy chugging along in the 9 to 5.

But you know, if you are a bit more aspirational, want to get some of that time back AND learn a thing or two along the way, then why not give it a go and start that journey!

It’s addictive once you start, believe me.

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  • Elizabeth O

    As i think of this its depends on how your lifestyle will be and what is you credibility to earn that kind of FIRE ., How will you be retired in early age if you dont have anything in you pocket or savings.,

    • The Frugal Samurai

      This is very true, it all depends on what you’re looking to achieve out of life – I think the main principle is to get some time back, but you’re right – many people run the danger of running out of savings if they retire too “early”, thanks for reading!

  • Brandy

    This is the first time I’ve heard of the fire movement, what an interesting idea. I’m not sure how I feel about it but was glad to read more about the fire movement.

  • Nina Nichols

    Truly challenging! The costs of everything keep on increasing each day and FIRE seems to be the viable option to ensure that the future is secured. First time to hear it but definitely so interesting.

  • David Elliott

    I really need to do the save like I have never saved before to live like I have never lived before thing. I know that I have been trying to give my daughter a good life, but making sure she learns to save is important to. The Fire program does sound like a worthwhile program. Wish I had seen this in my early 20s.

    • The Frugal Samurai

      It’s never too late to save! I feel we have the most power in terms of passing on our habits to our children, both good and bad – hopefully she grows up knowing the value of a dollar. Thanks for reading!

  • Gill Trotman

    This article is my first introduction to the FIRE movement, but it is something I can certainly get behind. These methods all depend on the individual’s willpower and willingness to trade their lifestyle of today for the lifestyle they want in the near future. I would love to speak with people that have successfully used this method to retire early. Thanks for the information!

    • The Frugal Samurai

      No problem Gill! I’m glad you enjoyed it and found out about it. You’re very right it is dependent very much on the individual’s mindset but we all have to start somewhere right! Plenty of Reddit and FIRE groups on the web, have a search! Thanks for reading.

  • Becca Wilson

    When I read this title- this was totally not what I thought it was going to be about. I absolutely love that it made me learn about something that I never would have gone searching for.

  • Pooja Kumari

    Me and my husband just love the idea of getting an early retirement. we have been working on this for the last couple of years. It’s not easy to think in an unconventional way. You really need to have that fire to be a part of this FIRE movement. You can only do this if you truly believe in the freedom you can achieve with an early retirement. I ABSOLUTELY BELIEVE IN THIS!

    • The Frugal Samurai

      Good for you Pooja! That is so true, it only works if you have the belief and mindset to do – like anything will take time, effort and hard work, but judging from your comments, you seem so passionate! Hope you and the hubby achieve it sooner rather than later. Thanks for reading!

  • Elle (CleverlyChanging)

    Yes, I have always admired this movement. Unfortunately, unless I get several more streams of income outside of blogging, then it’s a pipe dream.

    • The Frugal Samurai

      Sometimes it only takes a couple – fantastic you have some form of income from blogging already (even if it’s $1), now have to scale! Imagine one day sittin’ on $100k blogging income – it’s a bit of an alright 🙂

  • Clarice

    OMG! This is life-changing but yes, this FIRE movement is just what we need right now.

    I love the idea of lifestyle arbitrage. I am an online freelancer which means I earned USD but live in SE Asia where my money has more value. 🙂

    • The Frugal Samurai

      That is awesome that you are in SE Asia! Really, really envy you – especially that you earn USD so that dollar goes a long way, good for you! Hope this post gave you a little push to get onto the FIRE train!

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